Public support for Nuclear Energy has surged to a clear majority

LONDON, 19th DECEMBER 2014 – As Hinkley Point is prepared for Britain’s first new nuclear power station construction project in a generation, a new ComRes opinion poll has found that a majority of British adults (58%)  now support the use of nuclear power to provide energy in the UK including 21% who strongly support nuclear power in the UK. The opinion poll also found that only 22% were opposed.

The poll, commissioned by New Nuclear Watch Europe (NNWE), a new industry watchdog launched today by Tim Yeo, MP for South Suffolk, also highlighted the public’s interest in the safe operation of new technology. Of those polled 82% said that this is a factor when thinking about supporting or opposing a new nuclear power station close to their home and 68% believe that it should be mandatory for non-EU companies to have a track record of safe commercial use in its country of origin before being permitted to build in Europe. In addition 76% of those polled say it’s important that these projects create jobs, second only in importance to safety considerations.

In a further significant sign of its growing popularity, the polling also showed that nuclear (23%) has overtaken renewable energy sources such as solar (18%) and wind (15%) power as well as fracking (7%) and coal (3%) as the favourite single energy source British adults would like the UK and Europe to invest in. Three years ago similar polling for the British Science Festival showed 19% support for nuclear compared to 25% for solar and 20% for wind. The NNWE research also shows nuclear is seen as a potential solution to climate change issues, with 62% of respondents willing to accept nuclear power if it helps to tackle climate change.

Tim Yeo, Chairman of NNWE said: “Nuclear power is part of the solution to the challenge faced by Britain today of providing secure, affordable, safe and greener energy and, as NNWE’s new poll shows, we are very fortunate that people in Britain are more positive about nuclear power, indeed more than in many other countries.

“In this context, however, it is worth noting that the public has expressed a clear preference for NNWE’s first principle that when a technology has been developed outside the UK, it should have a track record of safe commercial use, either in the country of origin or elsewhere outside Britain, before it is deployed here.

“The polling also demonstrates strong support for NNWE’s principle of supportiveness, namely that companies or consortia delivering nuclear projects in Europe should be good neighbours and benefit local communities, particularly through the supply chain.”

 

Notes to Editors

  • Tim Yeo is available for interview. Please contact:
    Meade Hall & Associates +44(0)20 7976 5555

New Nuclear Watch Europe (NNWE) is a newly-formed interest group which has been established to help ensure nuclear power is recognised as an important and desirable way for European governments to provide affordable, secure, low carbon energy and help to meet the long-term energy needs of their citizens.

NNWE wants to ensure that contracts for new nuclear power stations are awarded in a way which delivers the greatest benefit in the fairest manner, to local communities, as well as to consumers and national governments.

NNWE believes that new nuclear power stations in Europe should avoid excessive reliance on untested technology. It further believes as large as possible a proportion of the manufacturing and supply chain work involved in the construction of any new nuclear power stations should be located within the EU in order to maximize the opportunities for the employment, training and skills development of EU citizens.

NNWE recognises that the nuclear industry operates in an increasingly competitive, global marketplace and that it is not always possible to rely solely on home-grown talent to deliver big infrastructure projects. NNWE does, however, believe that everything possible should be done to ensure that partners from across the supply chain are drawn from within the EU and where possible, from the country where the power station is sited.

 

NNWE is therefore, promoting two basic principles across Europe to ensure new nuclear power stations are:

1. Safe. Nuclear technology and manufacturing must, wherever possible, be tried and tested in commercial use. Any new power stations must also be designed to withstand extreme events of nature, accidents or terrorist attacks. They must also ensure the safe and proper disposal of spent fuels in appropriate locations. Where non-EU nuclear technology is used it should be able to demonstrate a record of safe commercial use and should not lock utilities into a single nuclear fuel supplier.

2. Supportive. We believe that companies or consortia delivering nuclear projects in Europe should be good neighbours and benefit the local communities in which they operate. This means employing and investing in local people and working with local partners across the entire supply chain, not just in low-level manufacture, but particularly in R&D, engineering, technology and high-end manufacturing to benefit the domestic economy.

Membership is open to all companies and organisations active in the nuclear industry including those involved in the supply chain. For more details, visit www.newnuclearwatch.eu

 

  • A more detailed report on the polling results, including charts, accompanies this release at www.newnuclearwatch.eu
  • ComRes interviewed 2,047 GB adults in Great Britain online between 7th and 9th November 2014. DATA were weighted to be representative of all GB adults aged 18+.